We were standing in the middle of the living room with tears in our eyes as we stared at the gas fireplace.
If any person walked in and found two grown adults crying staring at the fire, they would have thought that we had received some devastating news. But no, they were tears of joy. We had made a promise to each other back when we lived in foster care that we would one day own our own house. We never had a place we could call home. We were well aware of how long a night could be living in a home without any form of whole-home heating system. In the orphanage where we lived for most of our lives, the boiler installation always seemed to have a problem. For most months, it did not work correctly. The HVAC repairman was forever dealing with one problem or the other. If it was not in the ductwork, it was the gas furnace. There was barely enough money for food, so some things such as the furnace/heater installation and duct cleaning were the last things on the mile-long list. If one saw the home services truck, you knew something deathly serious had gone wrong. Washing the washable filter and sealing any opening on the HVAC duct were mainly carried out by the older children. Following the energy-saving help, tips were a survival tactic. Every once in a while, the local heating provider would offer free services. I still remember when the heating corp and some well-wishers contributed enough money to get us a new HVAC. That was the warmest winter any of us had experienced.